2020 Summer Virtual Meetings - Past Events

On August 7, 2020, the BDCI hosted its seventh unique topic virtual meeting, “Collaborative Efforts in Cystic Fibrosis (CF)”, with Nael McCarty, PhD (Department of Pediatrics) and Eric Sorscher, MD (Department of Pediatrics) leading the meeting.  We had an informative discussion on CF@tlanta and the strong network of CF researchers that is forming in Georgia.

  • Nael McCarty, PhD (Department of Pediatrics)

    began the meeting with an introduction titled “Overview of CF Research Program:  Systems Ecology of CF.” He started by introducing the CF program at Emory and Children’s, CF@tlanta and its mission. He next introduced CF, as a multi-organ disease, and CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator), the protein defective in CF. He briefly touched on the role of inflammation in CF before going into further detail about CF@tlanta.  CF@tlanta is composed of three main cores (CFAIR, Georgia CF Core Center, and CF@tlanta RDP Center) that serve a wide variety of functions, such as mice models, biomarker quantification, patient data, biostatistical services, and more. He ended with a slide detailing an ongoing collaborative project he is involved in attempting to determine the mechanisms of CF related diabetes.  
  • Arlene Stecenko, MD (Department of Pediatrics)

    was the next presenter, talking about “CF Clinical State and the Georgia CF Data Warehouse.”  She began by highlighting the key discoveries and disappointments in the 82-year history of CF.  She especially touched on the recent FDA approval of CFTR modulators and the complexity in understanding the individual’s response to the therapies. Then she talked more about the CF biospecimen repository – in the past 5 years, it has provided over 2500 patient derived biological CF samples to 27 research labs!  The last thing she focused on was the Georgia CF Data Warehouse as a means to encourage cross-collaboration among CF researchers and streamline data capture.
  • Marvin Whiteley, PhD (School of Biological Sciences, Georgia Tech)

    gave the next presentation, titled “Quantitative Ecology of CF Disease.” Using a quantitative ecology approach to CF gives three goals: 1) understand the functional dynamics of infecting microbes and host cells and their impact on the environment; 2) model the impact of disturbances/changes (e.g. antibiotics, modulators); and 3) predict the spread of emerging pathogens in CF.  He then used the example of a synthetic CF sputum media (SCFM2) to show how quantitative ecology can be used to understand CF disease.
  • Rabindra Tirouvanziam, PhD (Department of Pediatrics)

    followed, with a talk on “The Impact of Immunoinflammatory Pathways in CF Disease.” He introduced immunoinflammation physiological manifestations of it in CF (due at the molecular level to excess IL-8, no IL-10, and more; and at the cellular level due to the neutrophil influx and more).  He discussed the significance and interplay of the multiple disease processes that affect CF lung immunoinflammation before talking about ways to study the cellular and molecular pathways of cells in CF (such as cytometry, microarray, CHIP-seq, etc). He ended by talking about the new immunoinflammation core that is being established at CF@tlanta.
  • Eric Sorscher, MD (Department of Pediatrics)

    finished the meeting with a presentation on “Drug Discovery for CF and Other Orphan Diseases.”  He began by discussing the five categories that the >1700 CFTR mutations are divided into, based on pathogenic mechanism. He showed an example video of a CFTR small molecule modulation therapy. These precision medicine therapeutic modulators can markedly improve respiratory manifestations of CF. However, only 39 CFTR mutations are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for modulator treatment; challenges to CF precision medicine arise due to the high treatment cost (ex: >300k per year), the complexity of CF molecular phenotypes, and the large number of CFTR mutations.  He then discussed a high throughput screen he conducted with the ECBDC against two CFTR mutations, which identified 3 lead compounds, has had over 100 derivative analogs synthesized, and some of which are being advanced through the EIDD and Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute. He lastly touched on the benefits of HTS for orphan diseases, such as adrenoleukodystrophy and sickle cell disease.

See the slides here!

On July 24, 2020, the BDCI hosted its sixth unique virtual meeting on “Fortuitous Connections Through High Throughput Screening”, with Yuhong Du, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology) and Raymond Dingledine, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology) leading the meeting. We had a very exciting discussion on ways high throughput screening has enabled research discoveries at Emory.

  • Yuhong Du, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)

    began the meeting with an introduction titled “Connecting Biology to Chemistry Through High Throughput Screening.”  She started by introducing the Emory Chemical Biology Discovery Center, where they have over 500k compounds and use computer based design and screening to do high throughput screening and high content screening as well as 3D organoid screening. She then went through a few examples of ECBDC enabled discovery projects including the development of high-throughput Ca2+ imaging and the development of patient-derived 3D organoids to help screen chemotherapeutics.
  • Raymond Dingledine, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)

    gave a mini-keynote speech on “From HTS to Clinical Candidate: a Novel Anti-Inflammatory Strategy.” He began by discussing the role of cox-2 in chronic inflammation and the efficacy of EP2 antagonists in animal models of several inflammatory diseases. He went through the strategy used to identify EP2 antagonists, starting with creating a cell line expressing human EP2 receptors and using a cAMP assay to conduct a HTS. The HTS confirmed 13 hits out of the over 262,000 compounds screened, the top one was then optimized using medicinal chemistry to create ~450 compounds. The developed lead compound showed high selectivity and potency for EP2, and is currently funded to go through an IND and phase 1 clinical trials for status epilepticus.  He then showed his latest data, which involves using the HaloTag protein to target EP2 receptors in a cell-specific manner, using FRET for visualization.
  • Steven L’Hernault, PhD (Department of Biology)

    began the flash presentations with his presentation, titled “A Nematode Platform for Discovering Human Sperm-Based Non-Hormonal Contraceptive Candidates.”  He began with introducing the need for a reversible and safe male contraceptive pill and current problems. From there, he moved into discussing the role of the Izumo protein in fertilization. Then he discussed the creation of a C. elegans strain to be used in HTS to discover compounds that block the Izumo protein.
  • Muxiang Zhou, PhD (Department of Pediatrics)

    then gave a talk on “Discovery and development of dual inhibitors of MDM2 and XIAP for targeted therapy of cancer.”  He introduced XIAP, a caspase inhibitor that plays a role in cancer progression and resistance to apoptosis induced by cellular stress. The upregulation of XIAP protein levels is regulated by MDM2 at the translational level. He then presented the method through which HTS was used to discover MDM2-XIAP interaction inhibitors; they screened over 140,000 compounds to give 426 potential hits, which lead to eight lead compounds. He ended with a chemical schematic showing the medicinal chemistry optimizations that have led to his current lead compound.
  • Adam Marcus, PhD (Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology)

    next presented “Developing a leader cell targeting agent.” He first presented on the technique spatiotemporal genomic and cellular analysis (SaGA), which allows for precise selection and amplification to create purified leader and follower cell lines. He then moved into the chemical biology approach he took to screen for inhibitors of non-small cell lung cancer and the three initial hits they discovered.  He finished by showing data on the chemically optimized leads and their abilities to inhibit leader cell proliferation and invasion.
  • Nicholas Varvel, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)

    followed up with a presentation on “Brain invading monocytes exacerbate the consequences of status epilepticus.” He began by introducing status epilepticus (SE) and the neuroinflammatory response associated with it, during which blood-borne monocytes invade the brain. He showed data from chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) wild-type and knockout mice demonstrating that after SE, the Ccr2 knockout mice have reduced numbers of monocytes as well as reduced blood brain barrier degradation. He finished with data showing that the knockout mice had accelerated weight regain, reduced IL-1beta induction, and overall had neuroprotective side effects, indicating that this could be a potential treatment strategy.
  • Xiulei Mo, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)

    finished the presentations with his talk on “Discovery of Anticancer Immunity Enhancers Through a Co-culture Screening Platform.”  He introduced mechanisms to overcome immunosuppression, such as the target-based strategy and the phenotypic strategy.  In order to focus on finding small molecules that can overcome the phenotype of immunosuppression, he developed HTiP, short for high throughput immunomodulator phenotypic screening platform. It utilizes a co-culture of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and cancer cell lines in a HTS design to find potential anti-tumor immunity enhancers. Through a pilot screen, a group of compounds was identified that exhibit immune-dependent killing effect.  For example, the compound birinapant was found to not inhibit cancer cell growth by itself and immune cells individually in the absence of the compound did not kill the cancer; however, it exhibits very potent growth inhibition effect in the presence immune cells.  He ended with a discussion on the future potential uses of the HTiP system to identify novel compounds and expand the impact of tumor immunotherapy.

See the slides here!

On July 10, 2020, the BDCI hosted its fifth unique topic on “Chemical Biology in Antibiotic Research”, with David Weiss, PhD (Department of Infectious Diseases) and Marcin Grabowicz, PhD (Department of Microbiology & Immunology) leading the meeting. We had a very robust discussion on the development of treatments to various pathogens from group A Streptococcus to Neisseria gonorrhoeae to Acinetobacter baumannii.

  • David Weiss, PhD (Department of Infectious Diseases)

    began the meeting with an introduction titled “Antibiotic Resistance.” He talked about the world before antibiotics and the development of antibiotics. He then discussed the amount of time it takes after antibiotic deployment before antibiotic resistance is observed. He highlighted the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center (ARC) and an ongoing collaboration between ARC and the ECBDC to investigate a way to reverse colistin resistance of A.baumannii.
  • Marcin Grabowicz, PhD (Department of Microbiology & Immunology)

    then discussed “Exploiting gene essentiality to pry open Gram-negatives.” He started with an introduction to the outer membrane of bacteria, how it is assembled, and the pathways which are essential and conserved. He showed the how using small molecule screens, he could identify outer membrane protein inhibitors. He ended with a discussion on the Lol pathway for lipoprotein trafficking and how adding a suppressor makes LolAB a non-essential protein.
  • Philip Rather, PhD (Department of Microbiology & Immunology)

    began the flash presentations with his presentation, titled “Identification of mutations conferring a synthetic lethal phenotype in beta-lactam resistant Acinetobacter baumannii.” He introduced the concept that antibiotic resistance genes in bacteria may cause nonessential genes to become essential, which would allow for the development of new classes of antibacterials to specifically target antibiotic resistant bacteria. He demonstrated this principle with b -lactamase overexpression in A. baumannii and a small molecule screen that identified compounds that selectively killed the b-lactamase expressing isolates and not the wild type.
  • Christopher LaRock, PhD (Department of Microbiology & Immunology)

    gave a talk on “Drugging the host-pathogen interaction.” He began by focusing on the pathogenesis of group A Streptococcus (GAS), specifically in necrotizing faciitis. He then discussed strategies to treat multi-drug resistant bacterial infections, such as inhibiting virulence factors, etc. He showed that the IL-1 signaling inhibitor anakinra reduced GAS colony forming units significantly in mice. He is interested in potential collaborations involving other pathogens and potential molecules for targeting proteases, coagulation, and inflammation.
  • William Shafer, PhD (Department of Microbiology & Immunology)

    then presented on “Targeting multidrug efflux systems to render bacteria susceptible to antibiotics.” He started with a discussion on proteins produced by Neisseria gonorrhoeae that form drug efflux pumps that export antimicrobial compounds to the extracellular fluid. He discussed how the mtrCDE-encoded efflux pump confers chromosomally mediated penicillin resistance. He then showed data supporting that loss of mtrCDE reverses the clinical penicillin resistance in multiple strains in vitro and in vivo in mice.
  • Cassandra Quave, PhD (Department of Dermatology & Center for the Study of Human Health)

    next gave a presentation titled “Antibiotic Drug Discovery from Nature.” She began by introducing the Quave Natural Products Library, which has over 2,000 botanical and fungal extracts for ethnobotanical use. She went through an overview of the process involved in taking botanicals of interest to figuring out the active compound of interest and eventually bringing such compound to clinical studies. She showed data about two compounds that have been found to be useful against bacteria (pentagalloylglucose and clerodan diterpene). She ended giving three examples of natural products that have been found to target virulence toxins and biofilms.
  • Simon Blakey, PhD (Department of Chemistry) 

    finished the flash presentations with his talk on “New Chemistry for the Synthesis of Darobactin and Other Ribosomally Synthesized Post-translationally Modified Peptides (RiPPs) for Antibiotic Research.” He started with giving an overview on his lab and expertise areas for potential collaborations. He went on to discuss the bioinformatics revolution, which has enabled the discovery of new gene clusters and potentially new chemical targets. He then discussed a new collaboration to investigate Darobactin A, and various synthetic strategies to understand its binding and biology. 

See the slides here!

On June 26, 2020, the BDCI hosted its fourth unique topic on “Anti-Cancer Agents: New Opportunities for Cross Collaboration”, with Doug Graham, MD, PhD (Department of Pediatrics) and Hui Mao, PhD (Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences) leading the meeting. We had over 60 participants who discussed topics ranging from immunotherapy to radiopharmaceuticals to various clinical trials ongoing at Emory.

  • Doug Graham, MD, PhD (Department of Pediatrics)

    began the meeting with an introduction titled “Using Targeted Therapies and Immunotherapy to Improve Cancer Treatments.” He explained the use of T-Cell activation, modification, and then infusion as a means for cancer therapy. He also talked briefly about the clinical trial launching this year at Emory and UNC for MRX2843 in combination with Osimertinib in EGFR mutant non-small-cell lung carincoma.
  • Hui Mao, PhD (Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences)

    introduced “Cancer Theranostics,” which are cancer probes for diagnostics that also act as therapeutic agents, enabling high precision and specific targeting. He showed data demonstrating the usage of linked iron oxide nanoparticles for use in NMR imaging. Additionally, MRI demonstrated an iron oxide linked topoisomerase inhibitor could define the tumor margins as well as decrease tumor volume. The final examples he gave of current usage of theranostics included radionuclides, 5-aminolevulinic acid, and protoporphyin IX and examples of their usage.
  • Deborah DeRyckere, PhD (Department of Pediatrics)

    began the flash presentations with her presentation, title “Development of TAM kinase inhibitors for Treatment of Cancer.” After providing some background on TAM kinases’ role in cancer, she introduced the MERTK/FLT3 selective small molecule inhibitor MRX-2843 and showed data supporting increased percent survival in xenograft and murine models of B-ALL. She showed some data with a different MERTK inhibitor in combination with methotrexate, again with increased percent survival in a xenograft model and finished up with potential opportunities to collaborate, specifically in new ways to apply TAM kinase inhibitors, novel assays, optimized delivery methods, and potential bioinformatics collaborations.
  • Mark Goodman, PhD (Departments of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Psychiatry, and Hematology and Oncology)

    discussed “Radiopharmaceuticals to Help Accelerate Drug discovery from Bench to Bedside.” He started by introducing various 11C and 18F labeled small molecules that were developed for use in imaging research and in the clinic. He then showed some 18F labeled non-natural amino acids that were developed to detect cancer, and their ability to very specifically highlight cancerous areas. He finished up with a discussion on current collaborations he has with other researchers for cancer imaging.
  • Renee Read, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)

    next talked about “Drug Target Discovery and Therapeutic Opportunities for Glioblastoma Multiforme.” She began with an introduction to glioblastoma and the RTK pathways she looks at (EGFR).  She then introduced potential models for glioblastomas for screening and analyses and finished with a short introduction to the phase I/II clinical trial of Visudyne occurring at Emory Winship Cancer Institute.
  • Hans Grossniklaus, MD (Department of Ophthalmology)

    then began his talk on “Metastatic Uveal Melanoma Maintenance of Dormancy” with an introduction to the angiogenesis that occurs in early uveal melanoma. He illustrated that pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) helps prevent periportal growth, angiogenesis, and collagen production in pseudosinusoidal spaces. He finished by showing data demonstrating its ability to prevent liver metastasis in mouse models of uveal melanoma.
  • Sumin Kang, PhD (Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology)

    was the next speaker, on the topic “Cancer drug discovery to overcome metastasis and drug resistance.” She introduced glutamate dehydrogenase 1 (GDH1) and the role it has in cancer cell progression, as well as the inhibitor R162 (a purpurin derivative). She showed data illustrating the effectiveness of R162 in reducing tumor size in a mouse model. She then switched gears to talk about another project in her lab, which is MAST1 (microtubule-associated serine/threonine kinase 1) dependant cisplatin resistance in human cancers and the development of inhibitors of MAST1. She ended with a slides presenting data on the ability of lestaurtinib to sensitize various cisplatin resistant cancers to cisplatin treatment.
  • Tobey MacDonald, MD (Department of Pediatrics)

    gave the final flash presentation on “From Bench to Bedside: Aflac ST1901, A Phase I Trial of the Novel STAT3 Inhibitor WP1066 in Children with Malignant Brain Tumors.”  He began with an introduction to the STAT3 inhibitor WP1066, which has been shown to directly induce tumor cell death as well as stimulate the immune system to kill tumors. He presented data showing in-vitro as well as in vivo efficacy against pediatric medulloblastoma. He then showed microfluidics data verifying it does not affect normal brain cells from ex vivo brain tumor slice cultures. He ended discussing the ongoing first-in-child phase 1 clinical trial to study its toxicity, PKs and establish MTD/RP2D.

See the slides here!

On June 12, 2020, the BDCI hosted it’s third unique topic on Macromolecular Drugs and Therapeutics, with Jen Heemstra, PhD (Department of Chemistry) and Khalid Salaita, PhD (Department of Chemistry) leading the meeting. We had over 80 participants who discussed topics ranging from using RNA as a drug to treat SARS-CoV-2 to protein engineering to personalized cancer therapies.

  • Jen Heemstra, PhD (Department of Chemistry) 

    "RNA as a Drug and a Drug Target” was the title of the introduction given by Jen. She started by giving examples of RNA as a drug (through siRNA and mRNA), then explained how RNA could be a drug target, and finally gave examples of therapies that have been approved or are in clinical trials (such as the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and branaplam by Novartis).
  • Khalid Salaita, PhD (Department of Chemistry)

    then gave his introduction on “Macromolecular therapeutics and diagnostics: Hacking the immune system.” He started with a background on manipulating the immune system using chemical innovation, pointing out the challenges involving side effects and a low response rate. He then described his research involving macromolecular probes that study the forces involved in a T-cell immune response to a tumor cell, before introducing the flash presenters.
  • Karmella Haynes, PhD (Department of Biomedical Engineering)

    started off the flash presentations started with  a talk about “Advancing Epigenetic Therapy With Chromatin Protein Engineering.” She engineers sensor-actuator proteins to release non-mutated tumor suppressor genes from transcriptionally repressive chromatin in cancer cells. She is actively seeking additional collaborations in high throughput screening of chromatin protein interactions, protein nanotech delivery, in vitro cancer tumor models, and single cell RNA-seq.
  • Phil Santangelo, PhD (Department of Biomedical Engineering)

    discussed “RNA-based Drugs for Treating Influenza and SARS-CoV-2,” a rather well timed discussion on a very prominent area of research currently. He explained the shifting paradigms, from small molecule antivirals to “RNA-powered” activatable RNAses, which uses a CRISPR-Cas13 technique. He showed an interesting apparatus that is used to infect mice with influenza virus and compare viral loads with and without the designed RNAses. He is currently evaluating different crRNAS for their effect on SARS-CoV-2.
  • Anita Corbett, PhD (Department of Biology)

    gave the next talk on “Links between chromatin, gene expression, and biological endpoints.”  She mines cancer genomes for novel oncohistone driver mutations or mutations in chromatin regulators and then uses models to look at the potential and function of those mutations. She is looking for collaborators to run ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq and look at biological consequences of the mutations, as well as potentially ways to affect the biological pathways driving the oncogenic mutations.
  • Erik Dreaden, PhD (Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Pediatrics)

    gave the next flash presentation on “Reprogramming Cytokine Therapies via Macromolecular Engineering.” He introduced the importance of cytokine signaling and explained that there are currently 20+ FDA-approved cytokine therapies.  One immunotherapy solution he is using involves controlling cytokine activity with light using photo-reversible cytokine latency. Another immunotherapy solution uses T-cells as cancer therapeutics and has drug activity comparable to FDA-approved therapies for leukemia.
  • Dorothy Lerit, PhD(Department of Cell Biology)

    had the next flash presentation, titled “mRNA localization as a read-out of centrosome function.”   She began by discussing the critical role of the centrosome during cell division; centrosome dysfunction or removal is associated with inefficient cell cycle progression, cell cycle arrest, cell death, and several human diseases. Then she discussed how she visualizes and quantifies the mRNA that localizes at the centrosomes.
  • Periasamy Selvaraj, PhD (Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine)

    gave the last scientific presentation about his work in “A personalized cancer vaccine immunotherapy.” With a background discussion how cancer poses distinct challenges due to its heterogeneity (both inter-tumor and intra-tumor sources), he then discussed the creation of tumor membrane vesicles (TMVs)-based vaccines for each patient from whole tumor tissue. He then showed data demonstrating that the TMV vaccine reduced the tumor growth and metastasis of CMT-167 lung cancer.
  • Ichiro Matsumura, PhD (Department of Biochemistry)

    helped raise awareness to the student run group iGEMory, a platoon of aspiring synthetic biologists.

See the slides here!!

On May 29th, the BDCI hosted a virtual meeting on Chemistry Challenges and Opportunities in Neuroscience, Tom Kukar and Steve Traynelis led the meeting, where over 115 scientists were able to learn and discuss current ongoing research in Neuroscience being done at Emory.

  • Thomas Kukar, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)

    started off the presentations with a talk on “Opportunities in neuroscience: mechanisms and therapies for neurodegeneration,” providing an overview on his laboratory’s research into understanding mechanisms of neurodegeneration.
  • Stephen Traynelis, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)

    followed with a presentation on “Opportunities in neuroscience therapeutics through small molecule allosteric modulators. His talk highlighted the difference between conventional receptor-based drug discovery and newer medicinal chemistry research into protein-protein interfaces.
  • Thota Ganesh, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)

    gave an excellent overview of Alzheimer’s disease and the role of neuroinflammation in his talk “Drug Discovery for Alzheimer’s disease.” He then discussed his EP2 receptor antagonist as a strategy to block neuroinflammation.
  • Srikant Rangaraju, MD (Department of Neurology)

    continued the discussion on neuroinflammation with his presentation on “Novel therapeutic strategies for neuroimmunomodulation in Alzheimer’s disease.” He spoke of blocking the microglial Kv1.3 potassium channel as a potential AD target, through the reduction in neuroinflammation as measured by neuropathology, flow cytometry, and microglial transcriptomics.
  • Timothy Sampson, PhD (Department of Physiology)

    a fairly recent Emory faculty member addition, then switched gears to discuss “Functional roles for the microbiome in neurological diseases and injury.” His research focuses on growing germ-free mice and introducing different microbiomes to determine the effect on amyloid α-synuclein aggregation and disease in the gut and the brain.
  • Zhexing Wen, PhD (Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)

    explained how to use human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) derived neural cells in his talk titled “Drug development with human iPSC models.” His research focuses on combining iPSCs with high throughput screening to identify lead compounds for anti-zika virus drug development.
  • Hongjie Yuan, MD, PhD (Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)

    finished up the presentations portion of the meeting with his talk on “Neurosteroids: multifunctional tools for neuroscience research.” He discussed the use of neurosteroids to enhance the function of loss-of-function genetic varients of NDMA receptors through endogenous positive allosteric modulation.
See the slides here!

On May 22nd, the BDCI hosted a virtual meeting on Anti-Viral Agents: Case for Collaboration and Future Synergies, where nearly 70 scientists were able to discuss strategies for fighting viral infections and COVID-19.

  • Stefan Sarafianos, PhD(Department of Pediatrics)

    started the flash presentations with a talk on“Novel tools and reagents for virological, structural, biochemical, and drug discovery studies targeting SARS-CoV-2.” His presentation went into ways to study Coronavirus replication in BSL2 hoods using SARS-COV-2 pseudotype systems.
  • Greg Melikian, PhD(Department of Pediatrics)

    discussed “Screening and characterization of virus entry inhibitors.” He started by explaining the high throughput assay he was using to screen for inhibitors of viral fusion, first in HIV and then Ebola virus, and finally now for the SARS-CoV-2 pseudovirus model.
  • Jens Wrammert, PhD(Department of Pediatrics)

    discussed current “Serology screening of COVID-19”, including some recently published data on the work validating Emory’s serology screening.
  • Daniel Kalman, PhD(Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine)

    shared the background on Gleevac during his talk on “Imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) as a COVID-19 therapeutic.” He also discussed currently ongoing trials in the Netherlands and Spain as a potential therapeutic for pulmonary edema and pneumonia.
  • Monika Raj, PhD (Department of Chemistry)

    a new Emory Faculty member, discussed her research into cyclic peptide therapeutics in the talk “Cyclic peptide libraries for blocking Covid-19.” She hopes to use cyclic peptide therapeutics to block cell-viral fusion and is looking for new collaborators!
  • Rabindra Tirouvanziam, PhD(Department of Pediatrics)

    finished up the flash presentations with an interesting immunology talk on “Responses of lung-recruited human monocytes to SARS-CoV-2.” He demonstrated his model of cell testing that enabled infection of human epithelium and lung-recruited leukocytes by SARS-CoV-2, as well as drug testing (baricitinib and remdesivir) of those cells for disease-relevant outcomes.

See the slides here!

The BDCI launched an online virtual series of focused groups meetings for the summer Friday, May 15th, with a great turnout of nearly 90 participants! 

  • The first topic of discussion was Anti-Viral Agents: Case for Collaboration and Future Synergies.

  • Dennis Liotta, PhD (Department of Chemistry)

    lead the introduction with a discussion on the current status of COVID-19 therapeutics and targets, with an excellent literature review. His talk was titled “From emtricitabine and sofosbuvir to potential therapeutic targets for COVID-19”.
  • He is graciously sharing his slides, for those of you who want to learn more or follow-up on those references!

See his slides here!

Past Brainstorming Sessions

We had a successful virtual brainstorming session May 1st.  We had 17 presenters and over 60 attendees. 

  • 2019-2020 Accelerator Grant recipients were announced and the projects introduced!

  • Congratulations to:

    • Guy Benian
    • Jennifer Heemstra & Gary Bassell
    • Nathan Jui & Eric Ortlund
    • Stephen Traynelis & Dennis Liotta
    • William Wilcox
  • There were presentations focused on what the presenter could offer to others in collaborations (what is their expertise?) and on the presenters' collaborative needs (what could they use help with?)

  • Thank you to the following presenters:

    • Jacobus (Jaap) de Roode (Dept of Biology)
    • Mala Shanmugam (Dept of Chemistry)
    • Hyunsuk Shim (Dept of Radiation Oncology)
    • Dennis Liotta (Dept of Chemistry)
    • Bernard Lassègue (Dept of Medicine) for Kathy Griendling (Dept of Medicine)
    • J. Phillip Bowen (Dept of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Mercer University)
    • Khalid Salaita (Dept of Chemistry)
    • Yuhong Du (Dept of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)
    • David Lynn (Dept of Chemistry) and Zhexing Wen (Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)
    • John R Hepler (Dept of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology)
    • Frank McDonald (Dept of Chemistry)
    • Huw Davies (Dept of Chemistry)
  • See the slides here!!!

The BDCI had its inaugural meeting on August 9, 2019.  The day started with coffee and an overview and introduction to the BDCI (its plans and aspirations). This was followed by 34 flash presentations (with a coffee break) and ended with a nice lunch and informal discussions.

  • Thank you to the following presenters:

    • Bo Liang, Biochemistry 
    • Hui Mao, Radiology and Imaging Sciences              
    • Cassandra Quave, Dermatology & Human Health  
    • Jen Heemstra, Chemistry            
    • Yuhong Du, Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
    • Andrey Ivanov, Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
    • Steven  L'Hernault, Biology         
    • Karmella Haynes, Biomedical Engineering              
    • Brandon Dixon, Mechanical Engineering
    • Guy Benian, Pathology, and Cell Biology
    • Eric Ortlund, Biochemistry          
    • Robert  Castellino, Pediatrics     
    • Chunhui Xu, Pediatrics  
    • Young-sup Yoon, Medicine
    • Rabindra Tirouvanziam, Pediatrics          
    • Huw Davies, Chemistry
    • Frank McDonald, Chemistry       
    • Simon Blakey, Chemistry             
    • Vince Conticello, Chemistry        
    • Nate Jui, Chemistry        
    • Ichiro Matsumura, Biochemistry
    • Marcin Grabowicz, Microbiology & immunology     
    • Gregory Melikian, Pediatrics      
    • Bill Wuest, Chemistry    
    • Mala Shanmugam, Hematology & Medical Oncology
    • Sruthi Ravindranathan, Hematology & Medical Oncology
    • Haian Fu, Pharmacology and Chemical Biology              
    • Joshua  Levy, Otolaryngology    
    • Jack Arbiser, Dermatology          
    • Ray Dingledine, pharmacology and chemical biology
    • Wenming Li, Pharmacology and Chemical Biology
    • Jie Jiang, Cell Biology     
    • William Wilcox, Human Genetics             
    • Mark Goodman, Radiology and Imaging Sciences

See the pictures here!!!